Monday, August 18, 2014

What a difference a day makes.

What a difference a day makes isn't just a line from a song! I thought I'd be useless yesterday after the finger trauma, but I perked up enough to get a couple of little test earthenware cups in the mini, one cu. ft test kiln And since my finger seemed to stop the heavy bleeding, and was no longer hurting,  and the clear glaze was made, I decided to start glazing and doing a bit of decorating on a few pots. The finger is still very swollen, and the purple, black and blue on the whole thing is starting to fade into a more softened version of the color combination, bordering more on light gray, and lavender. LOL

Since it wasn't made long ago, I didn't re-sieve the clear glaze, but mixed it well with my good  turbo mixer and am hoping for the best. It was time to take some calculated risks and short cuts if I have any hope of having pots for Wednesdays show. Over the years I've learned to not make the pots so precious that I'm not afraid to lose them.

As I glazed the pots, they were put in the sun and with it, along with a little help from my heat gun, I felt comfortable loading them after dinner. Checking the weather, and getting an all clear, I decided to fire overnight with a very slow firing just to make sure they were as dry as they seemed. So a first ramp of 100 degrees an hour with a 6 hour hold, and then proceeding a bit normally after that seemed like a good choice.

At 2:30 am I was awakened by the sound of thunder and then saw the flashing of lightning coming through the bedroom window. So much for the clear weather report. A short, sense of panic arose not just for the electric kiln but the gas soda kiln.

Jim had covered the small soda kiln with a tarp, but couldn't wheel it next to the house (he didn't know I had locked the wheels). So there I was in the middle of night risking getting hit by lightning while unlocking the wheels and pushing the kiln against the house. Good thing, because I noticed a tear in the tarp and it was right on top, so I got a big bat and put that over the tear. The storm, so far, wasn't bringing any rain (it's those dry storms that cause these August fires on the west coast), and the electric kiln was still going, so I decided to let it continue firing, since it seemed the thunder and lightning was moving west and on it's way out, I hoped!

The kiln was still going this morning and is now 1070 degrees. So far so good. The little test pots in the tiny kiln were not great. I fired them to cone 03 and that might have been too high for that glaze. All three had the same amber glaze over black slip; but two had pin holes and one was perfect. There's only one small cup with this glaze in the larger kiln and the rest of the clear glaze, so I'm hoping the pots will be OK with the longer firing and a 15 minute soak at the end. It's time to cross the fingers and maybe ask for some heavenly help!

With summer starting to wind down I'm hoping that I can get a bit more on top of this earthenware. I've certainly learned a lot with just a few firings, and have a long list of to do's and not to do's, and add to the list with every firing. The Ayumi slip I'm using doesn't seem to like being applied to firm leather hard pots (got cracking on drying on the thinly applied slip). Also learned that you have to be very careful slipping pots and be very thorough cleaning the slip off unwanted section, because even a slight shadow of remain slip will show through under the clear glaze over the red body. These clear glaze want to be quite thin (not sure I have that one done pat). In the current firing I dipped some and brushed some. It will be interesting to see how this first attempt at brushing glazes went.

The rest of my day is going to be spent with cooking after morning garden chores and breakfast. I have a lot of eggplant and other garden produce that I should be cooking today and the next couple of days. Since we have leftovers tonight, I think I'll make an Italian marinated appetizer with one or two of the eggplants and save the others for eggplant parmesan on another day. Our daughter-in-law sent Jim home with three packages of mozzarella that she didn't get to use while they were here for a few days, as well as other garden veggies I gave her, so the eggplant parmesan and pizza will definitely be on this weeks dinner menu. Somewhere in there will be cucumber salad or one kind or another.

The garden awaits!

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